Call for speakers – WLIC 2023 Satellite meeting Universal Bibliographic Control at the crossroads: the challenges of unifying IFLA bibliographic standards

The IFLA Bibliography, Subject Analysis and Access, and Cataloguing Sections are seeking speakers for their Satellite Meeting to the IFLA World Library and Information Congress 2023, to be held in Brussels, Belgium, 18-19 August.

Dates: Friday 18 August, 09:00-17:00 and Saturday 19 August, 10:00-15:00

Location: Royal Library of Belgium (KBR), Brussels, Belgium

Theme: Universal Bibliographic Control at the crossroads: the challenges of unifying IFLA bibliographic standards

Universal Bibliographic Control (UBC) was created jointly by IFLA and UNESCO as part of a global effort to ensure better access to information. UBC has long been a fundamental part of the international framework for the bibliographic aspect of libraries’ work. IFLA’s UBCIM Programme has been responsible for the creation of the ISBDs as well as UNIMARC. 20 years after it closed, and about a decade after IFLA’s last collective reflection and declaration on UBC (IFLA Professional Statement on Universal Bibliographic Control and Lyon Declaration), the IFLA Sections on Bibliography, Cataloguing and Subject Analysis and Access invite metadata specialists from all around the world to convene at KBR in Brussels to start discussing a new framework for the coming decades.

In a global context that has undergone significant changes, we are reaffirming the role of libraries in building a sustainable future, and the matter of access to information is more crucial than ever. At a time when IFLA is re-examining its technical and strategic infrastructure for metadata standards creation and maintenance to take into account the new environment of data exchange for data interoperability, each individual term of the “UBC” concept can be questioned. 

The expected outcomes revolve around the future of the IFLA UBC statement: Is it still relevant? Does it need to be updated? Should IFLA come up with a new concept to replace UBC? Or a new framework and/or governance for UBC? And IFLA standards development?

We would like to invite presentation proposals particularly, but not exclusively, questioning the 3 elements of Bibliographic, Universal and Control:

  • “Bibliographic”: What are we talking about today? What are the consequences of the surge of digital resources and digital legal deposits? What kind of tools can we use to describe these resources?
  • “Universal”: Is the concept relevant today? What is the role of  IFLA metadata standards? And what are the challenges they face?
  • “Control”: What are the necessary work processes for the creation of controlled, structured data? What is the role of “cataloguer” and “metadata creator”? What are the required competencies and skills for this work?

Each speaker will take part in a panel discussion in English with 2 or 3 other speakers. The discussions will then be opened to the whole audience.

Speakers can either propose an ignite-talk-style presentation to preface the panel discussion, or detailed talking points for the discussion itself. The organising committee will pair speakers whose proposals have been accepted for each panel, and prepare the panels together with them.

Proposals must be submitted in an electronic format and must include the following information:

Name, title, institution, country, and email of speaker(s)

Brief biographical statement about each speaker (max 200 words)

Title of proposed presentation

Abstract of presentation (max 800 words)

Send proposal abstracts (800 words or less) by 15 May 2023 to: Vincent Boulet (, John DeSantis (, Isabel Ayres Maringelli (, and Mathilde Koskas (

Important dates:

15 May 2023 (Monday): Deadline for submission of abstract

29 May 2023 (Monday): Notification of acceptance

17 July 2023 (Monday): Deadline for submission of presenter information and final paper/slides

Please note:

The conference gives the priority to the face-to-face dimension. At least one of the paper’s authors is strongly encouraged be present to deliver a summary of the paper during the Satellite Meeting in Brussels. A video recording could be accepted, as an exception.

The paper, if supplied, must be an original submission not presented or published elsewhere. All papers that are presented at the WLIC 2023 will be made available online via the IFLA Repository under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

Authors of accepted papers must complete the IFLA Authors’ Permission Form.

All expenses for attending the Satellite Meeting (including conference attendance fees, travel, accommodation, etc.) are the responsibility of the authors/presenters. No financial support can be provided by IFLA.

Congress participation Grants:

List of opportunities for support is available on the Apply for Grants & Awards webpage.